Wood selection assistance needed

Hey everyone,

I could use some help with wood from a big box store. I have tried to engrave a few things using different types of plywood, and so far have not been successful. I found that the plywood I have tried so far has gaps / pockets, in it short of using wood filler after engraving to close the pockets is there a better type of plywood that anyone can recommend.

Thanks in advance.

Get model aircraft stores, they should carry aircraft grade plywood up to 1/4" thickness. They are not cheap though.

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Thank you, I don’t have something like that in my area I may have to look online for that.

How big of pieces are you looking for?

Largest would be 24" X 24" or 12" X 12" 1/4" thick

I was thinking getting some glued up Aspen from the big box store but it would be 3/4". Nice material though.

Home Depot sells the birch plywood and maple plywood, they dont have that many voids and it cuts good. Why does it have to be plywood? Could you use poplar or pine? What are you trying to cut and maybe someone can recommend a different type of material.
Just a suggestion :neutral_face:


For quality plywood, you’ll need to go to a lumber supplier or a store like Woodcraft.


I like the poplar wood but can not get the larger size I need. I have tried gluing pieces together but failed miserably, guess I have to work at it more as that does cut nice.

What is your project? can you use MDF or PVC board?


Thanks everyone for your help in this. I Just took a look at the PVC board that looks like something I could use for some things I would like to make. I think I will work on my gluing skills more and go with the poplar wood as that would be a good skill to have using the CNC.

Thanks again everyone you have been wonderful with the help

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Hobby Lobby sells clear pine placques for $2.00 in many shapes. Most of them fit perfectly on the SainSmart CNC. They machine very nicely and if you mess up, they are not that expensive to toss away.

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I failed to see you wanted to machine bigger pieces. I am a wood worker, so here’s one recommendation. First gluing up is a simple and great way to get good quality panels, but you must use a good wood glue and clamps to pull the edges tight. If you have no way of machining your own wood, it will be expensive to have it machined, so purchase poplar or maple with 4 sides already machined (S4S) at Home depot or Lowes, but it will be 3/4" thick. Maple is beautiful and machines without leaving stringy finish and it as reasonably priced as poplar, aspen, oak or many other types. I

Hi Don,

Thanks for the help. I did some research today, I actually bought a used jointer from a local custom cabinet maker, he bought a new one so I got a good deal on it. He did give me some pointers, I have tried gluing wood together when clamping everything was pretty level. Once I unclamped the wood it would start to buckle a little each day. Found out I need to joint it then alternate the end grains so one arch would be up the next would arch down then just before clamping everything tight to use a couple of 2X4 on the upper and lower side with clear packing tape to prevent glue from sticking with clamps to keep everything pretty level. In the next couple of days I am going to give it a shot to see how that works. I will keep everyone posted on my success or failure.



You might want to consider using Baltic Birch plywood. It is usually specified as being void free. It is readily available in a variety of sizes from many different sources.

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Thank you,

I took a look at that type wood and it looks very good but the price is beyond me right now, they want $94.00 for a 1-1/2 in. x 2-1/12 ft. x 2-1/2 ft. Birch Project Panel.

You can also use timber plywood according to size.

1.5" baltic birch is hard to find because of the thickness so tends to be exspencive. Buy 2 sheets of 3.4" and glue them togehter it is way cheaper.

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So for most of my projects I have done in the past I order from a company in California called Cherokee Woods. I live in Texas and it is actually cheaper to have it shipped from them than to buy it locally. Also, you should invest in a planer. You can buy lower grade woods and plane them out to quality pieces. I have a Harbor Freight planer I have had for over 5 years, still works great and I’ve only had to buy a new set of blades once so far. Maybe you could save up for a month or 2 and them order a bunch from Cherokee Woods.

I am actually working on getting a planer hopefully in about two weeks. I am looking at the WEN 12.5 in. Benchtop Thickness Planer with Granite Table. I already picked up a used joiner but have not had time to use it yet. I Just got done building a truck sim panel using my XCarve and now starting a flight sim one.